Chamber Touts 20% Growth Over Past Five Years

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This piece was originally published on the Camarillo Acorn, and can be found here.

It’s been five years since the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce was faced with a lawsuit by one of its department heads and the abrupt resignation of its president. It was a low point for the organization, which has long served local businesses as a voice in Sacramento, a place to get information about the economy and a way to network with others.

In the ensuing years, the Chamber has boosted its membership and gotten back on solid financial ground.

That was the message Chamber officials shared with the community during a June 20 State of the Chamber luncheon at Spanish Hills Country Club.

Laura Mullen, the Chamber’s outgoing chair, said membership has grown by 20%, to 580 members and counting, since 2014.

Mullen also said there’s been an increase in the number of ribbon-cuttings and networking events, two indicators that there’s been growth in the city’s economy. She noted, too, that attendance at events has risen.

“Our growth is powered by people,” Mullen said. “We are so grateful for the businesses that are choosing to do business here in Camarillo and we want to continue to encourage that.”

She said the Chamber is more financially stable with money in reserve, thanks to CEO and Chamber President Gary Cushing.

“We are operating the way you operate your businesses, and that’s what we want to be able to say to you as a Chamber every year,” Mullen said during her afternoon presentation.

Teri Kotantoulas, a licensed esthetician at Face to Face Esthetics in Camarillo, said being a member of the Chamber benefits her business in a variety of ways.

“I am able to meet other businesses in the area and support each other, make friends on a personal level and be more connected to the community,” Kotantoulas said.

The Chamber also strives to give nonprofits exposure and opportunities to connect with businesses, according to its website.

Kotantoulas said she organizes food drives at Face to Face to help some of the nonprofits she’s discovered as a Chamber member.

“There are a lot of opportunities to learn about nonprofits in the area and see what their needs are,” Kotantoulas said. “For me personally, and my business, we can help give back.”

Before the luncheon ended, Pleasant Valley School District Superintendent Angelica Ramsey was named the Chamber’s new chairperson.

Ramsey said she wants to bring schools and businesses together.

“There is a very important reason why we all work together,” Ramsey said. “We understand good schools make a good community. Good business makes sure that the community continues to thrive.”

During the rest of 2019, Cushing wants the board to focus on strategic planning, Ramsey said. In 2020, the Chamber is slated to move into the Ventura County Community Foundation building on Mission Oaks Boulevard.

For Chamber information, visit

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